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Grow Your Own Greenhouse Orchids: 11 Care Tips for Blooming Success

greenhouse orchids
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Orchids, with their vibrant blooms and exotic appeal, have captured the imaginations of gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike. Personally, I’ve found that growing these stunning plants in a greenhouse setting allows for a level of control not typical of outdoor cultivation. This controlled environment is critical in mimicking the tropical and subtropical conditions orchids naturally thrive in, such as consistent temperature, humidity, and light levels.

Tending to orchids in a greenhouse is an immersive hobby that keeps me constantly learning. Each orchid species has unique requirements, meaning that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. My journey with greenhouse orchids has taught me the importance of attention to detail—from the precise watering schedules to the careful monitoring of airflow and shade.

This intimate interaction with the plants fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of their complexities. In turn, the greenhouse becomes a sanctuary where these delicate organisms flourish. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered practices and techniques that lead to the most robust growth and impressive blooms, bringing a small slice of the tropics into my everyday life.

Designing the Ideal Greenhouse for Orchids

When I’m planning to set up a greenhouse specifically for orchids, there are two main things I focus on: the structure of the greenhouse itself and how to manage light and shade, which are critical to the health of the orchids.

Choosing the Right Structure

In my experience, there are primarily three types of structures to consider when it comes to orchid greenhouses: the lean-to greenhouse, the free-standing greenhouse, and window greenhouses. Lean-to greenhouses are great when space is limited, as they can be attached to an existing wall of my home or another building. These are cost-effective and utilize existing heat sources.

On the other hand, free-standing greenhouses are a classic choice. They offer flexibility in terms of placement and are ideal when I need more space for a larger orchid collection. As for window greenhouses, they’re a small-scale solution that’s perfect if I’m just starting out or if I’m limited on space.

Understanding Light and Shade Requirements

Orchids thrive in a delicate balance of light and shade. To achieve this balance, I use shade cloth that comes in varying densities. The cloth can be adjusted throughout the day or year to moderate the intensity of sunlight that reaches the plants, preventing sunburn and heat stress. Here’s a simple breakdown of how I manage light requirements:

  • Bright Light Orchids: I use a 30-50% shade cloth, especially during the sunniest parts of the day.
  • Moderate Light Orchids: Here, 50-70% shade cloth is my go-to.
  • Low Light Orchids: They require denser shade cloth, around 70-85%, to mimic their natural understory habitats.

I keep a close eye on the angle of the sun during different seasons as this affects the light’s intensity. Adjusting the position of the cloth or rotating the plants can also help maintain the optimal lighting conditions.

Creating the Perfect Climate

When I’m cultivating orchids in a greenhouse, the two pillars for creating an ideal environment are consistent temperature and balanced humidity, along with good air movement. Let’s dig into how I make that happen.

Monitoring Temperature Levels

I keep a close watch on temperature since orchids are sensitive to even minor fluctuations. I aim for a steady range that mimics their natural habitat.

  • Warm Temperatures: For most, I maintain 65-75°F during the day.
  • Cool Nights: I lower it by 10-15 degrees at night, ensuring a drop to encourage blooming.

To manage this, I use a heating system for chilly days and a cooling system that includes evaporative cooling for the warm ones. It’s crucial to have reliable thermostats and to check them regularly to avoid any sudden temperature swings that could stress the orchids.

Managing Humidity and Ventilation

Maintaining high humidity without encouraging fungal growth is a balancing act.

  • High Humidity: I aim for about 50-70% relative humidity in the air.
  • Air Circulation: Fans are essential. They emulate a natural breeze and keep the air fresh.

I control humidity with a combination of water trays under the plants and a mist system when necessary. Ventilation is key—both manual and automated—from vents and windows to mechanical systems. This way, I ensure a controlled environment where my orchids can thrive without succumbing to rot or disease.

Orchid Care and Maintenance Procedures

Proper care is crucial for keeping my orchids healthy and vibrant. I focus on precise watering, targeted fertilization, and diligent pest and disease management to ensure they flourish.

Watering Techniques

I’ve learned that orchids need a delicate balance of water. They require thorough watering but can suffer from overwatering. Here’s my approach:

  • Frequency: Depending on the variety, I water my orchids once a week. However, during hotter periods, the frequency may increase.
  • Amount: I make sure the water runs freely through the pot’s drainage holes for complete saturation.
  • Indicator: I check the potting mix moisture with my finger. If it’s dry an inch below the surface, it’s time to water.

Fertilization Strategies

For my orchids, I use a “weekly, weakly” motto with fertilizers:

  1. Type of Fertilizer: I use a balanced 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer.
  2. Dilution: I dilute the fertilizer to 1/4th the recommended strength.
  3. Application Schedule: I apply this diluted solution once a week.

A light hand with fertilizer prevents potential root damage from over-fertilization.

Pest and Disease Management For Greenhouse Orchids

I adopt an integrated approach to managing pests and diseases:

  • Inspection: Regularly examine orchids for signs of trouble such as discolored leaves or sticky residues.
  • Sanitation Methods: I keep my tools clean and sterilized to prevent spreading infections.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM): I introduce beneficial insects and use insecticidal soaps as preventive measures rather than relying solely on chemical treatments.

Cultivating Different Orchid Varieties

In my experience, getting the right start with potting and understanding the unique bloom cycles are crucial when growing various orchid species.

Potting and Repotting Orchids

When I pot orchids, I always consider their natural habitat. Most orchids, like epiphytes which include phalaenopsis and cattleyas, thrive in a loose, well-draining environment. For these, I use a specific orchid potting mix often containing fir bark, perlite, and charcoal. It mimics their natural conditions and prevents water from stagnating around their roots. Here’s how I usually pot them:

  • Select a Pot Size:
    • For young seedlings or smaller plants like paphiopedilum, small pots will do.
    • Larger varieties such as cymbidiums may require more substantial pots.
  • Potting Medium:
    • Use specific orchid potting mix; avoid regular potting soil.
    • I refresh the medium every couple of years or when it breaks down.

The thing is, repotting is equally essential. I make it a point to repot my orchids every two to three years or when I notice the potting medium is no longer providing the support and drainage needed.

Managing Bloom Cycles

Understanding how to manage orchid bloom cycles requires some observation and patience. Each type of orchid has its own rhythm. For instance, phalaenopsis may bloom every year if I provide consistent temperatures and adequate light. Here’s what I keep in mind for flower care:

  • Encouraging Flowering:
    • Most orchids need a slight drop in night temperatures to initiate flowering. I ensure a difference of 10-15°F from day temperatures.
  • After Blooming:
    • Post bloom, I don’t fret when leaves yellow or if the orchid enters a dormant period. It’s often a natural phase before the next growth cycle begins.

It took me some time to get used to the different needs of each species, but by paying attention to their potting and bloom cycles, I’ve been able to help my diverse collection of orchids thrive.

Optimizing the Orchid Greenhouse Layout

When I think about setting up my orchid greenhouse, the layout is key to ensuring my plants thrive. Orchids are a bit like Goldilocks, needing conditions that are just right. I’ve discovered some effective ways to optimize the space to meet these needs.

First up, benches. They are the backbone of my layout because they elevate the orchids to catch the light. I like to arrange them in a U-shape to maximize space and light exposure. Here’s a simple plan:

Top View of Greenhouse
|                  |
|   > Bench 1 <    |
|   > Bench 2 <    |
|   > Bench 3 <    |
|_                _|
  |              |
  |    Entry     |

Each bench hosts different species according to their light and humidity requirements. High-light orchids get the top bench, and those preferring shade stay lower.

For adequate ventilation, I leave ample space between benches, which is about two feet, to foster good air circulation. This minimizes risks of fungal diseases, crucial for healthy orchids.

Regarding the indoor growing conditions, it’s not just about cramming in as many plants as I can. Instead, I space the orchids apart to avoid overcrowding. This helps each plant get its fair share of moisture, light, and air.

I incorporate a sensible layout that considers the movement of the sun throughout the day. The taller plants are placed on the side that gets shaded first so smaller ones can enjoy the afternoon sun.

Finally, I always install fans for that extra push towards optimal air movement. No need to go overboard, just enough to mimic a gentle breeze.

This practical setup helps me enjoy growing orchids in a greenhouse without the usual headaches. It’s all about that sweet spot—where my orchids get precisely what they need to show off their stunning blooms.


In my exploration of greenhouse orchids, I’ve shared insights on their unique beauty and the nuances of their care. Orchids capture our hearts not only with their diverse forms and striking colors, but also their ability to thrive in controlled environments like greenhouses.

  • Climate Control:
    • Orchids require a consistent and suitable climate, something greenhouses excel at providing.
    • Temperature and humidity are crucial for their growth, and I’ve detailed how to monitor and adjust these settings.
  • Watering Needs:
    • Orchids don’t like to sit in water. I’ve emphasized the importance of proper watering techniques to prevent root rot.
  • Lighting Conditions:
    • They need specific light conditions, depending on the type. I’ve discussed how to manage light to mimic natural habitats.
  • Fertilization:
    • I’ve also touched on the bespoke fertilization requirements of orchids and how to approach this in a greenhouse setting.

Orchids are a testament to the beauty that attentive care can cultivate. While they can be demanding, the rewards of vibrant blooms are ample.

Having equipped you with this knowledge, take it as a springboard to further your green thumb adventures. Why not expand your horizons and explore the world of greenhouse tomatoes? Reading our article about growing greenhouse tomatoes can not only broaden your horticultural skills but can also add a delicious flavor to your garden bounty. Happy gardening!